Category Archives: Weddings

Why a French Chateau Provides Both a Beautiful and Practical Place to Tie the Knot

chateau

Romance. The word itself provokes intense feelings and thoughts, good and bad because it is such a crucial concept for the human soul. So many of the world’s greatest achievements in art, literature, music and sculpture have been created because of it. Many of them had significant movements ordained under their name – the romanticists or the romantic style.

 

It resonates because of the strength of its connotations. When we start to think about the ingredients of a perfect setting for the ultimate romantic occasion – a wedding – then we are led inexorably to one place. France.

 

Hugo, Rousseau, Delacroix, Rostand, Courbet and Gautier. So many of the names associated with romance are French. Even the word Romance is French. It is not surprising that so many world luminaries flocked to France in the hope that its romantic essence would rub off on them. Hemmingway, Fitzgerald and Grace Kelly became part of the tapestry that stretches throughout time enticing modern lovers to have their marriage ceremony in France.

 

The epitome of French wedding ceremony must be a chateau. Their design, history and surroundings all provide unique mystique and inspire the heart and mind of any fiancé and fiancée.

 

Unlike functional British castles and fortifications, French chateaus were designed as places for families to live and entertain their guests. Chateau Bouffemont, just to the north of Paris is an excellent example.

 

The preponderance of windows and lights testify that the views are of paramount importance both inside and out. Even on rare overcast days, the chateau itself is always a beautiful and noteworthy backdrop to any activity with its 5-hectare estate.

 

France is also rightly renowned for gastronomic excellence and the food at a chateau wedding could rightly grace any romantic novel or fairy tale. Staff will have long-standing contacts and friendships with the local food and drink suppliers to ensure the best and freshest food in season will be served for the couple and their honoured guests and the perfect wine and champagne to accompany the occasion will be served naturally.  

 

Weather and external conditions cannot be guaranteed but an estate such as Chateau Bouffemont has four floors of salons, terraces, suites and rooms to accommodate indoor or outdoor ceremonies with a minimum of fuss. Regardless of your own preference, they will readily be able to accommodate your wishes.

 

A French wedding also makes economic sense. The average UK wedding cost is now over £30,000 and it can rise above even this figure. A fairytale chateau wedding is within your budget for you and your guests to enjoy.

 

The cost would also cover expert services to make your day even easier and more memorable including the services of an expert wedding planner to look after the myriad of small details and decisions that can cause big worries if left unattended to. Experienced and helpful staff at the Chateau Bouffemont will also be able to look after the other details that will make a wedding more memorable such as the decoration, flowers, cake, music, photography, video and more. Even more unusual requests and services such as children’s entertainers can also be accommodated.

 

The age of Romance may have passed historically but its ideals and ideas live on and are personified in a wedding ceremony held at a French chateau. Honour your dreams and follow your hearts desire to France and its citadels of romance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Planning an Engagement Party

engagement party

Given all of the fuss and headache that typically accompanies the planning of an actual wedding, it’s understandable that for many couples, their engagement party can almost feel like an afterthought in comparison. But with your engagement being one of the most special moments of your life in its own right, here at Château Bouffémont, we think it deserves a similarly special celebration.

So with no further ado, here are answers to some of the questions that are most routinely asked about organising an engagement party – and which you should be thinking carefully about.

 

Is it worth having an engagement party?

A formal celebration of your engagement is by no means mandatory, of course. However, given that it is one of the most important things that will ever happen to you in life, it is well worth at least considering putting on a bash to herald you and your beloved’s step into the next phase of your lives together.

Plus, an engagement party can serve as an excellent opportunity to announce your engagement and toast it in the finest style in a stunning venue, such as our very own Château Bouffémont. Such an event also enables you to catch up with, thank and acknowledge many of the people in your lives who have helped you both to make it this far.  

 

Who is responsible for throwing the engagement party?

While it was once the bride’s parents who customarily threw and hosted the engagement party for the loved-up couple, these days, it can be thrown by pretty much anyone, such as other family members, friends or even the couple themselves.

It’s understandable why the traditional practice has faded – after all, if the bride’s parents are already helping out a lot with the wedding, it may seem rude to ask them to reach back into their pockets to make the engagement party possible, too. For this reason, it is today increasingly common for members of the entire wedding party to assist with the engagement party planning.

 

What’s the difference between an engagement party and a bridal shower?

An engagement party is typically thrown for the whole couple to celebrate the announcement of their engagement, whereas a bridal party is centred specifically on the bride, with guests bringing presents for her. It is not traditional for the groom to turn up to the bridal shower.

On the subject of the bridal shower, the wedding planning website The Knot has a handy checklist for ensuring you don’t overlook a single detail when organising yours.

 

Are guests expected to bring gifts to an engagement party?  

The bridal registry or wedding list – a service provided by a website or retail store to help engaged couples with the communication of their gift preferences to wedding guests – is not such a strong custom for engagement parties. Indeed, it is considered rude to include such a registry or list on an engagement party invite, and you should certainly not expect your guests to bring gifts.

However, given that people do often give gifts to couples as soon as they are engaged, many of your guests may arrive with a small present regardless, such as a decadent dessert or a bottle of wine.

 

What is a suitable venue for an engagement party?

Your choice of venue for an engagement party naturally depends in part on how many people you intend to invite, but also such factors as budget, the ‘vibe’ that you would like your celebration to have, the activities that can be enjoyed at or near the venue, and how easily your invitees can reach the venue.

You might not have thought that a chateau engagement would tick many of the above boxes, but the great news for lovers of traditional French-styled romance is that it is perfectly possible when you make Château Bouffémont near Paris your choice of engagement party venue.

This is why so many people ultimately get in touch with us to enquire about us providing the backdrop for their engagement bash – and we would add that we can be an equally fairytale venue for an intimate destination wedding in France.

5 Ways to Infuse Your Wedding Dress With the Finest French Style

chateau wedding

Such is the strength of the French signature wedding dress style – blending classicism, ease and a nonchalant sensibility in a manner you might have long regarded as inimitable – that it’s unsurprising so many brides nonetheless seek to emulate or at least borrow elements of this aesthetic.

Indeed, when you are looking to host the most memorable chateau wedding in France at a sumptuous Parisian venue like Château Bouffémont, it may seem borderline uncouth not to appropriate at least some aspects of the legendary French bridal style.

So, here are just a few of the ways you can make it possible for your own gown – as advised by leading wedding dress designers.  

 

Consider a two-piece

There surely can’t be many French wedding gown styles that are more evocative of this utterly romantic, but also laidback country’s sensibility than the two-piece.

As Lauren Crispin of the bridal company The Mews Bridal has observed, quoted by the Coveteur website: “The French are very good at the two-piece. It’s actually a very chic style – I’m a big fan of it. It’s a little bit different, and the brides love that they can wear the top again.”

 

Aim for laidback simplicity, rather than the latest extravagant celebrity styles

If there’s any kind of bride who is unlikely to rush into a bridal designer’s outlet while furiously demanding that the recent wedding dress of a Hollywood star or British royal is replicated for them, it is the French or Parisian bride.

Instead, a certain simple, but quirky aesthetic is frequently beloved of such wives-to-be. As Paris-based bridal designer Laure de Sagazan explains, according to Vogue: “French brides love the idea of being unique and a bit offbeat. It’s rare that a bride comes to me saying that she wants the same dress as this celebrity or a dress she saw in a magazine. They search for singularity.”

 

Pay attention to the finest details

Parisian brides may like to keep things rather more understated than the comparatively flamboyant or risqué styles favoured by many a ‘bridezilla’ in the UK or US, but they do expect high standards from their dress in another sense: the level of scrutiny given to every aspect of the design.

On this subject, Crispin has commented – this time in an InStyle article – that “the French have an unparalleled attention to detail, a standard of work they completely set for themselves… every intricate detail is executed with precision and passion that reflects everything they stand for.”

 

Say no to the strapless look

One other intriguing aspect of the French approach to bridal style is an aversion to the strapless dresses that are often so popular elsewhere, which appears to be down to a preference for a more ‘down to earth’ and effortless vibe among Parisians.

Crispin again: “We don’t have any strapless [dresses] here. The strapless is the tricky one, I think – I feel like you should look like yourself on your wedding day and wear something similar to what you would normally wear… none of the French do strapless at all; they’re all about feeling comfortable and looking effortless.”  

 

Embrace the veil

In the words of Paris-based wedding gown designer Delphine Manivet, “Parisian brides are not at all against wearing a veil and they actually seem to like this tradition a lot. It can bring a magical thing to the dress.”

However, fellow designer Elise Hameau has said that French brides who do opt for a veil “usually want it very precious, in silk tulle with the Calais lace – something that they’ll be able to pass on from generation to generation.”

There is certainly no shortage of ways to inject a few doses of French sensibility into your wedding dress, as can be an especially good strategy when you are planning French-style nuptials at a suitably French venue – such as our own fairytale property, Château Bouffémont.

Why not enquire today about how we could play our part in making your dream Parisian wedding a reality at our resplendent former noble residence?

The Questions You Should be Asking Your Wedding Planner

Henry Wedding

The wedding planner that you pick will have the immense responsibility of ensuring that every aspect of the organisation of your big day goes smoothly. You should, therefore, expect to ask a lot of questions to each person you are considering for this all-important job.

Here are just some of the questions to ask that will help you to narrow down the candidates.  

 

 

Will you be available on my wedding day?

This may appear to be an obvious question, but you would be surprised to hear of how often it isn’t asked until the couple realise the true situation all too late. In fact, you should be asking this question before any other, to ensure you do not waste any time considering someone who isn’t free.

If you are strongly interested in working with a particular wedding planner and can be flexible with your dates, you could ask them to give several dates when they will be free within your desired range, so that you can determine when both they and your preferred venue will be available.

 

 

Have you organised weddings at this venue before?

Your chosen wedding planner having overseen nuptials at the specific venue you have in mind is a big plus, as they will therefore probably know the venue staff, layout and logistics. This, in turn, should help to make the planning process that bit smoother.

Alternatively, it may be that the person in question has planned weddings at similar venues, which can be a great advantage, too. It could enable you to ask them a little more about their approach to organising weddings in such settings.

This way, if you have an unspeakably romantic French chateau wedding at such a fairytale venue as Château Bouffémont in mind, you can be sure of the planner achieving a ‘vibe’ that you will love.  

 

 

How do you deal with difficult family members?

There are various ways in which you could phrase a question like this. The key is to uncover evidence of how the wedding planner customarily responds to those unexpected disaster situations that could put them under a lot of pressure. You won’t want to discover that your chosen wedding planner becomes easily flustered or angry in such a situation on your big day itself!

However, you should also gain a sense from this person that they have a foolproof backup plan in mind for such difficult situations and will be organised enough to hopefully ward off any catastrophes from occurring in the first place.

Don’t simply presume that disasters like those told by nine wedding planners for this recent article for Cosmopolitan won’t happen to you; being ready for worst-case scenarios is vital.

 

 

How do you prefer to communicate?

Different wedding planners often have very different methods of operating, and you will want to be sure that your chosen wedding planner’s process works well for you.

The wedding planner that you have in mind may be based largely in Paris, for instance, which may seem ideal if you are getting married somewhere like the refined stone-built Château Bouffémont, situated a mere 30 kilometres away.

However, you may be a resident of the UK who will not be visiting France until the wedding, which will not be helpful if your Paris-based wedding planner is never in Britain and prefers to discuss their ideas with you face-to-face, rather than via email or over the phone.

 

 

For how long have you been a wedding planner?

We’re not attempting to suggest here that an experienced wedding planner is automatically preferable to an inexperienced one.

However, if the person you choose has spent several decades in the industry rather than just a few years, they will have had greater opportunity to develop connections with vendors that could translate into a better wedding for you.

While it’s important not to become too stressed out by the process of selecting a wedding planner, you should also not underestimate the difference that the right person can make – not least because, as explained by Loverly, working with a wedding planner can bring unexpected benefits.

How to have an Intimate Destination Wedding in France

Intimate Wedding

It is unsurprising that so many couples wish to tie the knot in France, which is, after all, perhaps the country on earth to be most indelibly associated with romance. However, whatever your own preferences or plans for your special day may be, it is vital to be well-informed with regard to the legalities and other practical aspects of formalising your union overseas.

 

What kind of venue do you desire for your big day? 

France is such a frequently dreamed-of wedding destination in part due to its abundance of highly distinguished and enchanting venues.

A French chateau wedding is surely the archetypal romantic occasion, as we have good reason to appreciate here at Château Bouffémont, on account of the many enquiries received in relation to hiring the magnificent heritage property for ceremonies and receptions.

While France is blessed with a variety of wedding venues to cater to different aesthetic tastes, it is also crucial to consider the logistics of your special day, including travel connections and the ease, or otherwise, with which your intended guests will be able to reach your chosen venue.

This is another factor that often heightens the appeal of such a well-situated venue as Château Bouffémont, which can be found in the heart of Montmorency Forest, a mere 40-minute journey from central Paris, and 20 minutes from Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Le Bourget airports.

 

The legal dimension of getting married on French shores

As explained by such online sources as TransferWise, there are many elements and rules that one must follow if they wish to hold a marriage ceremony and/or reception in France.

Some of the legal requirements for a wedding in France – such as for both parties to consent and be at least 18 years of age – may seem easy enough to meet. However, one frequent barrier to those wishing to officially marry in the country is the need to provide proof of residency in France for a minimum of 30 days prior to the application being made, for at least one of the parties.

It is for this reason that many couples ultimately elect to have a legal wedding in their home country, followed by a religious or symbolic ceremony at a French venue of their choice.

This was the approach taken by Natalie of the Weddings Abroad Guide website, who explained: “My husband and I ‘secretly’ got married in the United Kingdom prior to our wedding in France and had a Humanist wedding ceremony on our wedding day in France.

“Our civil ceremony in the United Kingdom was purely to take care of the legalities and our wedding day in France is when we considered ourselves married.”

 

All of the intricate touches required for a very special wedding

When you are interested in holding a destination wedding that will warm the hearts of everyone present and leave positive memories to last a lifetime, you can scarcely hope to select a more suitable venue than Château Bouffémont.

The noble stone-built property offers an extraordinary setting of manicured French gardens that lends itself beautifully to the most endearing photography. On the inside, meanwhile, you will find the opulent furnishings and crystal chandeliers that practically define the most intimate and charming of wedding venues.

Combine these elements with the exacting service characterised by the highest level of attention to detail, and you may have the ideal venue for your own intimate French chateau wedding.

10 French Traditions to Embrace at your Wedding

traditional french wedding

Getting married in France is a dream of many couples. This is in largely because of the many
fascinating wedding traditions that have contributed to the country’s reputation as the
epicentre of romance.

 

If, however, you are interested in not only tying the knot in France but also embracing the finest
French traditions for this most special day, here are some ideas that you may like to incorporate into
your own ceremony.

 

1. A non-bride-centric approach

To those familiar with the phenomenon of the ‘bridezilla’ – a term used in reference to brides
perceived to be self-centered and unreasonable – the comparatively little focus placed on the bride in
traditional French weddings may be surprising at first. French marriages tend to emphasise, instead,
the two families that are brought together by the union.

 

2. The wedding procession

One custom on a French wedding day is for the groom to approach his bride-to-be at her home to
‘collect’ her prior to the ceremony. As the bride, her father and musicians lead the procession,
children stretch white ribbons across the road to block their path. The bride cuts the ribbons to
allow her passage, thereby also symbolising her ability to overcome the obstacles of married life.

 

3. La mairie

This is a legal requirement that has effectively taken the form of a French marriage tradition. Those
wishing to legally marry in the country must be married by the mayor at a town hall, with the doors
remaining open to reflect the ‘public’ nature of the event and – traditionally – provide potential
objectors to the marriage with the opportunity to do so. The SmartExpat website provides more
details on the legal process of tying the knot in France.

 

4. The wedding armoire

A traditional French bride’s ‘wedding armoire’ is her cupboard or chest, which is to be filled with
linen or clothing – or to use the native term, ‘trousse’. Such items are often hand chosen and
embroidered by the bride and her mother with her married initials, and are meant to serve the
bride’s needs during her married life.

 

5. The grand entrance

It is the groom and his mother who typically walk down the aisle first to mark the big entrance after
all of the guests are seated. It is only after this that the bridal party arrives, including flower girls
scattering petals, boys carrying the ring and finally, the bride and her father. The couple then sit on
red velvet chairs for the exchange of vows.

 

6. La noce

This is a term covering all of the wedding-related festivities involving the wedding party and guests.
One tradition formerly involved the guests – or ‘noce’ – following the newlyweds to the various sites
visited on the day, such as the church, drink reception or dinner location, while making the
maximum possible amount of noise. Today, a car procession following the bridal vehicle – with the
horns blaring en route – is more typical.

 

7. La voiture balai

What can be directly translated in name as the ‘broom car’ serves the purpose of following the
bridal and guests’ cars between locations, to ensure everyone reaches the party safely. A quirkily
and unmistakably French vehicle – such as the Citroen 2CV – is often chosen for this role, and may
be heavily decorated with pans or tins that trail behind it during the journey.

 

8. The cake

Traditional French weddings do not have a wedding cake as such, but instead what is known as a
croquembouche, which essentially takes the form of a pyramid of balls or choux buns filled with
vanilla cream or custard, and held together with toffee. Alternative offerings may be chosen, such as
conical creations consisting of macrons or other French pastries. Paris-based wedding planner
Kimberley Petyt has provided further information on what you need to know for your own French
wedding croquembouche on The Good Life France website.

 

9. The champagne tower

Few French wedding traditions are more enthusiastically embraced by those from overseas than la
fontaine à Champagne! This extravagant sight takes the form of a pyramid of flutes or coupes, with
the Champagne being poured into the top glass and subsequently filling all of the glasses below. As
you might imagine, it is best advised to entrust the construction of such a tower to capable and
experienced professionals.

 

10. The fairytale chateau venue

There can surely be no finer French wedding tradition than the backdrop on which one ties the knot,
not least because this is so often a resplendent historic chateau, such as the extraordinary Château
Bouffémont in its enchanting setting of manicured French gardens.

When you seek the most unspeakably romantic chateau to rent in France for your special day, you
could scarcely hope to make a more tasteful choice than our own aristocratic property – not least
because we are also in such close proximity to Paris, the City of Lights itself.

Tips to Make Your Summer Chateau Wedding an Iconic Event

If you have often seen friends and relatives enjoying chateau weddings, you could be understandably attracted to the idea of having a similar ceremony for your own big day. The Château Bouffémont could be the perfect location for your nuptials.

However, if you intend your wedding to happen during the summer, you might wonder how you could make it stand out from such weddings your guests have previously attended. Here are some ideas…

Keep the engagement period short

One way of leaving a positive lasting impression on your guests is making the wedding a surprise. You could do this by renting Château Bouffémont for your intended wedding day and then sending out the invites – except omitting the detail that the event will be a wedding.

If you indeed go down this route, you could hold the wedding shortly after announcing the engagement. Otherwise, someone could let slip the big secret before time, as Vogue cautions.

Give your guests good reasons to travel

This can be imperative if you are seeking to keep the wedding under wraps for now, as even well-meaning friends and relatives could be reluctant to make long journeys for anything other than significant milestones. Therefore, you should try strongly incentivising them to travel.

If you book Château Bouffémont, you could draw attention to its proximity to Paris. The stunning refined building is just 30 kilometres from the centre of the French capital and its many attractions.

Offer drinks with a difference

At a summer wedding, it can be standard practice to hand glasses of champagne to guests as they arrive. However, as recommended in another Vogue piece, you could instead place decorative pitchers of fruit-infused ice water at the entrance to the venue.

This can have the dual benefit of not only giving your guests another unique little detail to fondly remember but also helping to keep them cool – a purpose that some fruits are especially effective at serving.

Put together an inventive game plan

When you rent Château Bouffémont for use on your wedding day, you can tailor the on-site services that we provide to prevent boredom setting in among your guests.

For example, you could ask our fully dedicated staff to make refined cuisine that meets various guests’ specific culinary preferences. You could even book private fitness and dance classes or let guests try cookery or taste-test wine. It’s all possible at our chateau.

Encourage a quirky-but-practical dress code

If you have attended many weddings in the past, you might have understandably felt anguish about how you should dress for these occasions. After all, discerning how to dress in a way that makes you stand out but not show up the bride can seem like a delicate art.

To prevent your guests struggling to strike the right balance, you could show them these tips from Harper’s Bazaar. You can then start preparing for other aspects of the wedding; here at Château Bouffémont, we warmly welcome reservations for chateau weddings for dates during the summer.

Inspiration for your wedding this Christmas season

Inspiration for your wedding this Christmas season

 

Winter weddings have long been associated with a certain magic – after all, they take place at a time of year that is already pretty special given the ongoing Christmas celebrations. However, it’s also true that every little touch or adjustment can help so much to make an already heart-warming and inspiring occasion even more so.

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Wedding a la francaise?

marriage chateau

For so many couples, it is a lifelong and heartfelt dream to get married in France. This may be due to an enduring love of French culture, or perhaps a family or ancestral connection to the country. Alternatively, you may simply be looking to tie the knot abroad and have considered France due to its strong associations with all things romance.

However, there is much more to the organisation of a French wedding than simply finding the prettiest and most enchanting backdrop on which to confirm one’s union. Here are some of the other factors that demand consideration.

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